This is a multi-part review and grading of the previous drafts of the New England Patriots under coach and executive Bill Belichick which started with the grading of the 2013 draft (previous installments of the series are found here: 2000, 2001, 2002, 2003, 2004,2005, 2006 and 2007). As the Patriots are now getting into their offseason with their loss in the AFC Championship Game to the Denver Broncos, this period of time prior to the official NFL offseason in March when free agency picks up is often the only slow time in the NFL calendar.
Last season the series was interrupted due to the shocking revelations in the Aaron Hernandez saga taking place. After that, it was Tim Tebow time and training camp had so many story lines that past drafts slipped to the wayside. As fans and the team prepare for the 2014 NFL Draft in April it is a great opportunity to take the time to look back to the previous drafts of the New England Patriots in the Bill Belichick era and re-grade them with a clearer understanding of the drafted players impact upon the team.
As a note, these draft grades take into account the player’s impact while in New England weighed against the other players who were available in the draft at that time, as well as the strength of the draft as a whole that season. In addition, the position of the player taken in the draft is compared to the team’s need at that time, and it also takes into consideration how the player contributes to the team’s winning, whatever their role ended up being in New England. Below is the revisit and re-grading of the Bill Belichick draft that followed the greatest disappointment in the playoffs in Patriots history: the 2008 NFL Draft.
The 2007 season was one of highs and lows for the New England Patriots. On one hand, 18 consecutive victories and a 16-0 record in the regular season was an amazing accomplishment. On the other, losing in the Super Bowl left a bad taste in the collective mouth of New England after the Patriots endured the “SpyGate” scandal. The NFL fined the Patriots for recording the opposing sideline during their first game of the season from field level rather than in an approved location (seriously, that is all that the whole thing was about). The Patriots used this as motivation and went on to a historic season before being upset by the New York Giants in the Super Bowl.
As a penalty, New England was stripped of their first round draft pick (#32 overall).